Curiosities

The Real World

Recommended Reading: Tyler Stoddard Smith's satirical essay on the new literary movement "The Real Newism" at Hobart. "Did Virgil go to hell? No. Did Virginia Woolf go to Disney World? No, and it turns out that Orlando isn’t a place, but a dude. And did Truman Capote ever have breakfast at Tiffany’s? Yes, but the eggs Benedict was cold and the bloody marys were 'bullshit.'"
Curiosities

Catton Craze

Eleanor Catton just became the youngest person ever to win a Man Booker, but we were fans of her long before. Our own Emily St. John Mandel included Catton's debut novel The Rehearsal on her list of disorienting reads. Paul Murray also recommended the book on his 2012 Year in Reading.
Curiosities

The “Bad” Author Myth

On the heels of a New Mexico school district banning Neverwhere because a mother considered it "R-rated," Neil Gaiman delivered a lecture for the Reading Agency about the importance of libraries and reading for children. "It's tosh. It's snobbery and it's foolishness. There are no bad authors for children, that children like and want to read and seek out, because every child is different," he said about banning books.
Curiosities

Runaway…

Recommended Reading: “Train” by Alice Munro, which Harper’s posted online in the wake of the author’s Nobel win.
Curiosities

Longreads Launches Membership Drive

Like the Girl Scouts, Longreads offers a tantalizing product that many people find indispensable. And, also like the Girl Scouts, they now do membership drives. To participate, sign up to be a member and donate a minimum of $3 a month or $30 a year.
Curiosities

A Bit Woody

Perhaps the best mashup of highbrow and lowbrow to grace the cultural ether in recent years is this innovative scratch-and-sniff guide to becoming a wine expert. The book, which is exactly what you think it is, declares that “not all oaks are created equal” and includes a diagram of “all the smells in the world.” (Related: literary tourism at Suttree’s High Gravity Beer Tavern.)
Curiosities

A Logical Fit

The Guardian posted a helpful Q & A to shed light on a great mystery: why is Penguin Classics publishing Morrissey’s autobiography?
Curiosities

Interview With Charles McNair

Over at Bloom today, a lively Q&A with Charles McNair, whose Pickett's Charge was the subject of Kevin Hartnett's recent review here.  In particular, McNair takes us through the harrowing blow by blow of his road to publication, the "sophomore jinx story" from a Pulitzer Prize-nominated author.
Curiosities

Similes Like Bombs

Senior New York Times book critic Dwight Garner talked with Prospect Magazine about his career and the literary landscape. Of the new online critical publications, which ones did the interviewer single out for compliments? Answer: the LARB and The Millions. (Aw.)
Curiosities

Like This Passage?

Ad-driven e-books may be something we'll all have to deal with in the future. At the Melville House blog, Dustin Kurtz explains why ads that pop up while a person is reading might well be an inevitable development. (If you’re like me, your reaction to this is simple: ugh.)